The Ministry of Health and Roche on Monday, May 16 announced that partnership agreements have been signed to improve access to care for breast cancer and hepatitis patients.
The agreements build upon the existing National Strategy for Cancer Control and National Hepatitis Policy in Ghana established by Ministry of Health in 2014 and 2015, respectively, which were developed to provide responses to cancer and hepatitis challenges in the country.
The agreements summarize partnership activities that the parties aim to implement to address the numerous obstacles that patients face, and improve outcomes in these disease areas in which Roche has an expertise.
Anticipated partnership activities for the breast cancer agreement include: disease awareness programs, screening to promote early detection, establishment of two centers of excellence, referral pathways to tertiary centres, improvement of diagnostics facilities at treatment centers, training of specialists, development of National Cancer registries to establish disease burden to aid planning, development of national treatment guidelines, and access to treatment for breast cancer under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The proposed partnership activities for the hepatitis agreement include: development of national prevalence data, disease awareness programs, screening, training healthcare providers in diagnostics, improving availability of diagnostics in the public sector, access to innovative treatments, and the development of national treatment guidelines.
“This partnership with Roche is a major step forward for breast cancer and hepatitis patients in Ghana. The focus on awareness and diagnosis, combined with training for health care professionals and improved access to treatments will help to change the landscape of these two diseases for patients,” remarked the Head of Public Relations at the Ministry, Tony Goodman.
“We are committed to raising the standard of care in Ghana, and reducing the need for Ghanaians to travel to other parts of the world to access treatment.”
The Minister of Health, Dr Alex Segbefia, admitted that: “There are effective tools available to prevent infection with viral hepatitis which include hepatitis B vaccination, surveillance, education, screening, and treatment; however the challenge is to build the capacity to extend these interventions country-wide.
“For this reason the Ministry of Health, Ghana constituted technical experts who tirelessly worked and had consultative review meetings with all key stakeholders that matter to develop the First-ever National Policy on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis in country.”
On his part, Markus Gemuend, the Sub-Sahrana Head of Roche said: “It’s critical that we work together to improve outcomes for breast cancer and hepatitis patients in Ghana who are not getting the access to care they need for their life-threatening diseases.
“Today’s comprehensive agreement reflects a multidisciplinary approach to improving care and helping to ensure patients in Ghana get earlier diagnosis and improved treatment that is so desperately needed. We aim to support the government of Ghana in this critical endeavor, alongside other partners, to thoughtfully address the challenges of treating breast cancer and hepatitis.”